Friday, July 22, 2016

Loans and livestock...

Only roughly 3 more acres of first cut hay to get put up....and 3 wagons full of hay to go in the loft. Greg has been doing 99% of the hay this year which i am thankful for because it kills me, not to say it isnt hard on him too.

We went and talked to FSA yesterday about loan options, things look good there but we have a lot of paperwork to do and we need to make up a quite detailed farm plan as well as source places to get anything we want included in the loan such as livestock, tractors, buildings, etc..

We want to open a dairy but i talked to a lady yesterday who co-op sells goat milk and from the info she gave me we wouldnt really feasibly be able we are still looking but considering other options as well such as wholesaling milk finished pigs to restaurants, and doing value added dairy products also wholesaled to restaurants and stores. So we shall see how that goes, more things added to the already insanely long to do list.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hay Days

Lucy and Missy are still with us and ive decided to dry them off. With White May in milk and producing so much it just isnt worth it to spend the time to milk them. Missy has a very nice udder with nice sized teats...problem is it is very fleshy and only produces maybe 2 cups of milk. Lucy has a very nice udder with nice thinner walls so she produces almost a quart...problem is her teats are tiny like smaller then my pinkie finger. She honestly looks like how an FF before having the kids udder would...and this is her 3rd kidding now. I'm sure if i bred her to a buck whose dam had nice teat size she would make great kids but i dont want to breed mini's. 

Most of the first cut hay is done with over 750 bales in the loft atm and another approx 12 acres of hay to be baled up. So then a small break from hay and then second cut starts....its always to quick. If anyone wants to buy hay let us know haha.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Moving on from little goats

We made the decision to sell the mini goats. I listed them wednesday and so far Alice, Bella, Alice's Daughter, Missy's Buck, and Lucy's Daughter have all sold and went to their new homes. We have my two favorite mini's Lucy and Missy Left to sell still. F2 and F3 mini manchas in milk. We started milking them after their kids left at almost 2 months lactation without being milked by us until now this season they are both giving around a quart per milking.

We also moved May's buck boy whom we have named Tyrion into the kid stall so he could wean off as he is past due at almost 3 months old. May has started being milked, at almost 3 months fresh on her FF she is giving us almost 2 quarts i have high hopes for her. Her mother daisy gave a gallon as day. 

Tyrion will replace Ruger as our buck. Tyrion is a polled Saaneen/Sable on his Sire's side and Saanen/Nubian on his mother's side. Sadly he can not be registered as his father's papers were never sent in. He however is loaded on polled genetics, he himself is polled, his father, grandfather, and maternal grandmother were all polled. In total he has in the past 7 generations 14 polled goats and he comes from some good milk lines.
We also renamed Ghost to Casper...Ghost just wasnt fitting her.

We mowed, raked, and baled part of the 8 acre field by our house it made gorgeous hay, we only got 90 square bales though. Tuesday the rest of that field will be cut, along with 10 acres across the road from our house. The field by our house will be plowed, spread with manure and then plowed again, and spreads with alfalfa seed at 5lbs per acre this fall. The field is to acidic and the root mat is to thick so we will be correcting both plowing and applying a base(undecided which base yet) Depending on how second cut looks we may re-seed some other grasses as well, the field has not had anything done to it aside from being cut in atleast 15yrs so it is way past due and is struggling to produce.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summer Hair Cuts

Well i have some good news and some bad news.... i got 3 goats shaved, but i only got a pic of one lol. My camera was dead and my phone was very nearly dead, fully dead by the time i finished the second goat.

Here is May(Lyla) with her new haircut. Did i do a totally horrid job she is the first goat i ever shaved..definitely got faster on the second and third.

She is a bit bloated lol...ok a lot 

i didnt clip anyones head or udder. This is the first time they have ever been clipped i think and i just tied them to the deck stairs railing so i think they did really well tolerating everything but the udder(halter was in the way for the head.

I will say Alpines are harder to do because of the double coat...the mini Mancha was supper easy and quick like 10 minutes lol. May(Lyla), Cassiopia and Lucy all got haircuts. Today hopefully will be Ruger, White May, and Missy...and pictures lol.

Busy Days on the Farm

Ok so the Goat herd is growing...i need to find time to take pics so you guys can see them. We have so far.

Ella - Alpine
Cassiopia - Alpine(Ellas daughter)
Lyla - Alpine(registered but i dont have the papers)
May -Saanen/Nubian(registered experimental)
Alice - ND
Bella - Mini Alpine
Lucy - Mini La Mancha
Missy - Mini La Mancha
Phoebe - 75% Boer 25% Nubian
Jr Does
Ghost - Saaneen/Togg (looks Saanen with waddles)
Ivy - Togg
Mocha - Togg
Hazel - Togg
Alice's doe kid
Lucy's doe kid
Ruger - Alpine
Moon - Mini Nubian
Buck Kids
May's buck kid - 50% Sable 25% Saanen 25% Nubian(Ruger's replacement possibly)
Missy's buck kid

The kids without names are ones we are not likely to keep or we just havnt thought of a name for yet. I would like to sell Lucy with her doe, Missy with her buck, Alice with her doe, Bella, and Moon. Basically all the mini breeds...i love them but i feel they get unfairly picked on and i cant use them for milking. That would bring us down to 11 full size goats and allow us to possibly get a registered alpine buck and/or expand our pasture more.

We would love to get a seperate pasture put up for the sheep, they also get picked on because they wont defend themselves and just get pushed around as well as a separate pasture for the pigs.

Speaking of pigs today Greg is going to pick up another Gilt today, that gives us 5 gilts on the farm, 1 boar and 1 barrow. Which should set us up for the first litters this fall in october and have the pigs cycle back in time for 4-h litters in march with a 30 day break to recondition them. Long term we plan on having them breed roughly twice a year with a minimum of a 45 day break between. When i say break i mean not pregnant or nursing. If litters come out on the small side we should have at least 25piglets(likely 40piglets).

Been very busy on the farm. We have our sheep herd of 2 adult Suffolk Ewes, 2 lamb Suffolk Ewes, 1 lamb Suffolk Ram and 1 lamb 7/8 Suffolk 1/8 Hampshire the herd has grown from 2 to 6 and next spring we should have a herd of 10-14.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Gloomy Spring

Well I havnt been updating here as much as i had hoped. Partly because of the insane weather and partly because of some losses on the farm that were to hard to really talk about as they happened. So let me catch up.

The month of April had more snow fall for us then all of winter combined. Temps have been anything from -2 to 82F as you can imagine this isnt really good on the animals.

Earlier this month our friend's pot belly pig who we had in the barn had a littler of 12 piglets, she killed all but 2 of them. Those two we found buried in a hay pile and almost dead, so cold they were not even shaking and we actually thought they were dead. We took them in the house and got them on a bottle and ooo i loved these tiny piglets!! We did not realize until it was to late that they had gotten pneumonia. So we told them home and gave them 1ml each and hoped it would help. It did was sad losing them even though we had not had them for long.

So the potbelly pig momma was a bad pig. She bite off the end of our mini boars ear, killed and ate one of our friends baby goats, killed/ate her own piglets...and the topper was when i walked in the barn one night and she had bitten off and eaten a chunk over half the size of my Suffolk ewe honey's ear. That was the last straw, she got butchered.

Next up and worst... Over the last two weeks our Doberman named Mauler Mauligan lost about 30lbs he ended up dying on our kitchen floor in the middle of the night. We suspect he had stomach or intestinal cancer. So he was laid to rest under a tree on our property with a thick cut new york strip steak and a gallon of water. It was a very sad day and still is very sad for us. Greg watched him get born and literally had him from the second he entered this world. After 10yrs of being a faithful companion to Greg he went to his final reward. I hope he has all the female dogs, steaks and animals to hunt he ever wanted. The big lummox will be greatly missed and never forgotten.
Mauler 2006-2016

We also lost my sweet house lamb Maggie from we believe endotoxemia. She died the day after we lost Mauler. I loved that little lamb so much. She was so smart and friendly. I used to pull her into bed and she would lay there and cuddle with me...chewing her cud. She wasn't here for long but she made a big impact on our lives.

It has taken me a few days to write this post and i am sorry i dont have something happier to share.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Mud, Mud...Everywhere

The rain/snow can stop any time now. Crazy Michigan weather!! We had all the snow melted, then got 5 inches of snow along with it raining ice. Now it is all melted again and 3 days of rain....look at the weather this morning and the weekend holds 3-14" of snow. Spring is turning out to have more snow and be colder then winter was here.

Our property is flooded but most places around us are right now too. Our driveway is nothing but mud and our lawn is following a similar fate. Trying to be outside to do anything is a nightmare, every step you take you sink into mud even where it looks "dry."

We have major plans to renovate the existing tile, put in more swales, and move around some dirt/clay to make the areas by the house and barns shed water better. We also would love to scrape down the driveway a good 5-6" and lay down aggregate then 2A limestone so we dont have a muddy wreck next year as well. Shall see how far we get on that.

Greg did go out yesterday and dig the trenches by the barn out farther to allow the barn to (we hope) drain more. A Flow thru barn is an awesome idea, assuming the water has some place to go. Right now the livestock seems pretty miserable with the wet weather and mud. I think they like warm sunny spring weather just as much as we do. We have modified the bedding a bit and left the pigs and sheep with a foot of bedding material which seems to be staying dry on top.

Moving away from weather related topics and issues.

Dehlia found a new home, she actually went to live with our friends who took her twin sister. They have a lot of human kids and they really like the friendly goats so I know everyone will be happy. I do miss the little fluff ball though, she was such a character and made me laugh so much.

Maggie our little broken leg lamb got her cast off Easter Sunday. She was officially 8 weeks old Monday and her leg seems to have healed well. She stretches a lot and flexes the broken leg working it as much as she can to loosen it up. I have been putting her in my lap and slowly flexing her hock and pastern since both seemed stiff. Her pastern is fairly loose and wasnt to bad because it was able to move. Her hock however was almost solid and unable to move when we first took off the cast, it now bends a tiny bit, we are trying to go really slow so we dont hurt her.

We finally got Maggie to drink out of a bowl last night. We tried and tried to get her off the bottle and onto a bowl for about a week now but she was to smart for her own good. Finally I figured out how to solve the problem. Since she knows milk comes from the bottle nipple and she really was interested in the milk in the bowl but couldnt figure out how to get it out. So i made her a bottle after work yesterday when I knew she would be thirsty. I let her see the bottle then i walked over and poured it in the bowl, she paraded around the bowl and over to me complaining for about 10 minutes every so often smelling the milk and dipping her head in then wrenching her head back quickly and looking at me as if to say "Why would you do something so rude to me, do you see this milk on my face this is a barbaric way to get a drink." Finally I had a brainstorm that if I put the bottle nipple in the milk she could suck on the nipple and drink milk from the bowl and hopefully learn how to suck up milk without it. Well it worked great after about 45 minutes of her playing with the nipple and sucking milk thru it from the bowl she tossed the nipple out of the bowl and stuck her head back in sucking the bowl dry in about 2 minutes. I refilled the bowl with warm water, she still doesnt like cold water.

Thats about all the news for now, more pictures coming in the next posts.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spring is comming!!

The weather is almost spring worthy here and we are so happy to see the snow and cold go. The farm is very very wet sloppy but it should dry out soon we hope. This is officially our first spring living on the farm and the receding snow means we get to start working outside again trying to clean the farm up. There is a never ending list that only gets longer but we are slowing working our way thru it along with working our off the farm jobs and trying to keep the animals as dry and happy as we can.

Kid/lamb Update...
Our house goat girl and my sweet little lamby maggie are doing great. Maggie is growing so fast now it is amazing you can can almost watch her grow. Tomorrow maggie girl goes back to the vet for hopefully the final visit and her cast coming off.Our house goat girl whose name is Deliha is so very friendly she is always running around after us and wanting to get pets and play. Here are updated pictures of both from today.


And here is a picture of Greg playing with Deliha!!

In other news our twin buck boy goats are going to be 4h kids, they leave for their new home in a week or so. I know Phobe their mom is ready for them to go but she is being a great mom.

On top of that we have a friend of ours using some of our barn while he moves into a new house and gets new fences put up. So this is a picture of 2 of the triplets that Dear threw. That's Dear being all stand offish to the right.

I think thats all the news we have for now. We will be here on the farm battling the constant wet problem. Hopefully we can get the farm re-tiled this year and it will be much drier next year for us.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Kids in the House....

While it is always exciting to have goat kids in the house this year we also have our little broken leg lamb. I love this lamb so much, her personality is just so great and she is a fighter. We took Maggie(lamb) back to the vet on friday because her cast was getting a bit snug and she had an infection in both of her eyes that was effecting her eye sight. We did not know it was an infection until we took her to the vet. So now she has a new cast and get ointment in her eyes 3 timesa day but even losing most of her eye sight didnt slow her down at all. Here is a picture of her and her goaty friend with her new cast.

And here are some more random kid/lamb pictures because they are so cute!!

In other news we also traded one of our dwarf goats for a very nice Alpine doe. She is really a nice goat and appears she will be a great milk producer for us though she is a tad over weight at the moment nothing to bad.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Snowy Days

We were very pleased because almost all of our snow was melted and the weather was pretty warm for febuary. The animals were thriving and enjoying the warm weather and what sunshine we did get...then it happened. Someone did something bad because we were punished with a 12 inches of snow in less then 12hrs and vicious winds. We had to lock up the poultry for fear of losing them in the mini blizzards. Luckily that was a few days ago and we had two days in the 40s so most of the snow is again melted and the animals seem happy.

We have noticed a developing problem with all the warm weather and the snow melting. Our beautiful old barn is a drain thru barn which means it was smartly constructed so the water from the top of the hill where the corner of the barn starts, will run under the man door and thru the barn to the other end down hill. The walk ways are sloped in this direction and towards the gutters, at the end of the gutters there are holes thru the wall to drain the water out with tiling to send it out to the boggy area at the back corner of the property. This works great unless the tiling is old, unkept and collasped, then you get a lake outside the barn at the end of the cow ramp and a very damp barn floor. The floor being concrete is wicking moisture into all the animal bedding except on the old feed alley walk ways. So we have plans to fix the field tile this spring and to renovate the large tiles areas on the property that direct water flow to the boggy area.

Our property is very wet, compacted by the fact it is almost 100% heavy clay with very poor drainage and a small river more of a creek that runs along one side and thru the back corner. In order to keep our barn black water out of the creek the black water is diverted to a separate place in the boggy low corner of our property and the rain water goes to the creek. After we get the  water ways fixed this spring i have ordered 4 weeping willow trees to put in this corner to give the livestock some shade and suck up water since they do a good job at it. This will also provide some natural forage, perches for the poultry and the livestock will keep them trimmed nicely. The trees will be approx. an acre from the barn so no worries on the roots growing into the foundation and 3 acres from our well.

Lots of plans for the spring. Our broken leg lamb is doing great and goes back to the vet for a check up and likely new cast on tuesday the 7th. i did get my camera but my sd card has not arrived yet and without it the internal camera memory only holds 5 pictures. In the mean time here are some old pictures!!

And some newly hatched chicks because spring is coming!!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Good News and Bad News...

The good news is i ordered a new camera and it should be here today!

More good news is that we have had two lambs born one ram and one ewe. They are so very cute! We also had a set of twin bucks and a set of twin does born from our Goats. We are housing a friends of ours goats and she had kids early this morning triplets! She had two does and one buck. So here on the farm we have a lot of new life and hopefully this year will continue to be good to us with our animal health.

We have the studs for the new barn stalls up in the barn and one stall finished as well as a few temporary stalls for the new moms. Over the winter we fixed all of the barn windows that still had frames and put boards in the window holes were frames were missing. Out of 28 windows there was one we didnt have to fix/replace glass in.

Now for the bad news. Yesterday morning when we got home from work and went to the barn to do chores and check on everyone we found that our tiny baby lamb had been stepped on by either her mother or her grandmother. She had a broken hind leg. So we took her to the emergency vet 45 minutes away and she now has a cast with a great prognosis. The vet assured me that she would have a 100% recovery and be perfectly fine. She will officially be the most expensive animals on the farm by the time she is done with the vet. So we now have a house lamb because the cast can not get wet.

Here are the only pictures of her I have right now taken with my phone. ( you can clearly see why I havnt posted pictures lately)

Clearly she will not be at all spoiled....take no note of the shirt, she was born with it I swear

You can see the vet liked her so much they added hearts to her cast.

More to come soon i hope. Spring is right around the corner!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

We Got The Farm!!

Well it has been awhile since i have posted anything. Between my digital camera dying and my phone camera not working very well i have not had any new pictures of anything to put up but a lot has been going on since my last post.

First off......

We got the farm!!

This is a picture we took of the farm when we were still just dreaming last spring.

Greg and I fell in love with a 20 acre farm with a huge 1930s barn. The barn is so gorgeous though it needs a lot of repair work it is in very good shape for its age and neglect. The property has a lot of interesting stories to go with it, for starters it used to be called "The old Bank" because the owners last name was Bank.

This barn was also completely rebuild in the early 1930's (1932-1934) because lightning hit the original barn and burned it to the ground. The only thing left in the morning was some of the foundation.

Luckily insurance or the bank we are not sure which paid to have a new barn built. The new barn was built identical to the old barn with a few "modern" improvements. It took 2 years to build the barn, 1 entire year was spent on shaping and bending the roof trusses for the top of the barn, year 2 was spent on building the entire rest of the barn. Hopefully i can get a camera and get some pictures of the inside of the barn for you guys cause it is really beautiful.

Next up to discuss.... we got a few suffolk sheep and the older suffolk ewe is due to drop a lamb any time now. We have several goats also ready to kid in the next month or two.

We are also very excited because we now have PIGS!!!! We have two gilts(females) and a boar(male) and one barrow(castrated male) for my mom for a meat pig. We have been working really hard on making them friendly pigs and they now come up for pets or scratches when we are in their pen. Pigs are by far the cleanest farm animal i have ever seen...yes they love mud but given a choice they will not wallow in their own feces. The pigs in their pen have picked one corner to use as a bathroom and the rest of the stall stays clean, so clean in fact we only have to change their bedding once every two weeks...compared to the sheep that need their bedding changed  about every 5-7 days even with deep bedding and only two sheep in a huge 8ftx12ft stall.

All the rest of the farm animals are doing fine, we have had our losses of course due to predators, weather, and old age.